Lessons Learned: Never Assume, It Can Be A Legendary Mistake

Legendary entertainment logo movie booth floor displayWith San Diego Comic-Con over and my euphoria beginning to wain, I can now reflect back on this year’s Comic-Con and point out a lesson I re-learned this year and that should be one of your ten SDCC commandments: NEVER ASSUME anything and make sure to always ask questions!

This year for some odd reason I forgot to do this. Maybe it was because the con was earlier this year or maybe it was because I was not as prepared. But I can tell you that because of my assumptions and lack of a follow through question I missed out on critical information which would have made my decision making a bit more clear cut and I could have avoided my Legendary mistake.

Let me first preface this by saying that we are talking about the San Diego Comic-Con and nothing is truly fair. Throughout my years of attending SDCC I feel like I seen it all. I usually just roll with the punches as you win some and lose some. But in this case, I thought it would be a good informational read to point out my mishap for our followers so you can be better prepared for future Comic-Con’s.

Just like most of you that read the blog I gather as much information as I can from various resources and start making an agenda on what I’d like to try to do at SDCC. I gauge my tolerance and weigh it with my desire to set my goals for each day. My agenda is usually pretty flexible as I have an option A, B, C, D, etc. and tend to shift priorities depending on changing variables that I see happening.

The general theme of Comic-Con for the past few years is to line-up earlier and earlier to ensure better odds of whatever goal you have set. Whether it be getting into a presentation (Hall H or Ballroom 20), exclusives (Hasbro, LEGO, Mattel, Funko, Gentle Giant, etc), autograph signings, or swag, there is a line for everything and the key is to manage your time and make choices based on your priorities and information.

For this years SDCC I decided to scale back my Comic-Con activities and just focus on a couple key things each day so I could devote a little more time to explore the exhibit hall and the Gaslamp. So to give you an idea here is what I scheduled out as key things to do each day:

Thursday – SuperMansion signing, Marvel booth Skottie Young Pins/Agent Carter poster, set-up comic commissions, LEGO draw, Return of Gravity Falls panel, Nick Dragotta signing
Friday –  Colony/Hardwick & Day signing, LEGO draw, Viking Longship, Scott Snyder & Jock signing, David and Meredith Finch signing, Disney Infinity Pop-up Shop
Saturday – Crimson Peak/Agent Carter/Joss Whedon/Outlander signing, Akiman signing, Muppets panel, Google Spotlight Stories Panel
Sunday – Scream Queens signing, Viking Bludgeon Booth, Ingress MissionDay, pick-up comic commissions

For those that know me this is a pretty light schedule as I usually go into “warp speed” mode and try to do as much as I can each day. With my scaled back schedule and easy going attitude I was surprised that I hit everything on my list for Thursday and Friday except getting the Agent Carter poster. So going into Saturday I was going to let my line position dictate whether to go for the Agent Carter (random draw) or the Crimson Peak (ticket handout) signing.

Once I saw my position in line was the same as Friday I decided to go for the Crimson Peak signing since it was a breeze to get the Colony/Hardwick & Day signing. When they let attendees into the convention hall I was on my way to the Legendary booth. When I got there I was astonished to see that there was a line wrapping around the Legendary booth that was already 200+ deep and capped. Lines that long are nothing new at Comic-Con, but I had been 70th in line at the top of the escalators, so how could that be? Where did all these people come from?

In scoping out the line, I could see that half of the people in line had exhibitor badges, so when I asked a Legendary representative about that she said, “We let anyone with a badge in line.”

Was I saddened to learn this? Yes. Do I think that it is an injustice to the fans that don’t have similar access to the exhibit hall? Yes. Do I blame Legendary? No.

I was the one that made the cardinal mistake of not asking booth policy for a signing I was planning on attempting. This goes back to the previous day I was in the same area in line at the top of the escalator and made Legendary booth my first stop on the exhibit floor. I was able to get a signing ticket for Colony and Hardwick/Day and there was only nine people ahead of me.

This is where the assumption part comes in instead of asking questions about tomorrow’s signing and their policy on passing out tickets. I assumed it would be the same situation. If I would have asked and found out that they let anybody with a badge line-up to get tickets I would have already known that my chances of scoring a popular signing ticket such as Crimson Peak would have been almost nil as exhibitors would have the inside track.

Normally this type of stuff doesn’t bother me as I see it as part of the SDCC experience as people are going to do what they can to get what they want. But than I got responses back from my tweet about this and I genuinely felt appalled and mad for those that put in the time to be beat out on a technicality. Although I don’t fault Legendary for their system as they have every right to handle their product any way they like, it makes me wonder if they know the sacrifice that fans go through thinking they have a chance at scoring that prized ticket. I truly feel awful for the other fans that lined up earlier than I or had other line mishaps:

If that is their policy and they want to uphold that then you have to respect it. But I am giving Legendary the benefit of the doubt here and say that they don’t know the inequities and if they did they might change their policy like other companies have in the past.

Here are a few companies whose policies have actually changed over the years, to make the fan experience better:

WB Booth Signings
For anyone that attended SDCC pre-WB wristbands you will remember that it used to be a big mosh pit that circled the booth and once the line opened up it was a mad rush before it was capped instantaneously. This insanity repeated itself 30 minutes prior to each signing and it was absolutely mayhem. After numerous complaints from fans, WB implemented the random pull wristband system we all know today.

LEGO Set and Mini Distribution
Who here remembers when the LEGO booth got shut down? Because of the mini-figure craze a mass of people rushed the LEGO booth the first day at the 2013 Comic-Con to try to get a ticket for the Spider Woman mini-figure. The booth was overwhelmed and had to be shut down. The following day they held the mini-figure ticket giveaway outside in the west terrace.  After this fiasco LEGO sent a survey to those who gave their email.

LEGOSDCCsurveyThe following year LEGO implemented the random win/lose push button system.

 

So there is hope that a company like Legendary will change their policy in the future if enough people let them know how they feel about that policy through something like an online petition and if not I will be sure to let you all know as I don’t want others to make the same Legendary mistake that I did.

Please comment below to let me know if anyone else experienced this at other booths on the exhibition floor.

About Evic Oropilla

  • Angel of Death

    Legendary is a problem. I can see the disappointment not getting into Crimson Peak. But oddly enough, it wasn’t hard to get tickets for either of the Warcraft signings or Krampus (which i know neither would be as popular, but still). Versus some other booths like Marvel, which I don’t even try for anymore because I assume I’m going to get shut out…I feel that even though a ticketing wristband system would be great for Legendary, more than anything, Marvel’s the one that needs to implement the Sails Pavilion system!

    Every year it’s impossible to do ANYTHING at the Marvel booth–buy things, get swag, and ESPECIALLY signings.

    If anything needs a wristband system it should be Marvel.

  • Mistykari C Wilson

    I was there. I was literally in the front of ADA line. Like 3rd in the line. They never bother let us in, even we did follow everything we were supposed in order to meet the cast for signing. First the cast arrived really late, and only managed to stay for like 10 minutes and had to leave because they are “already late” for Hall H.

    Everyone staff are completely ignored ADA line, after repeatedly being told that they will take a turn between non-ADA and ADA line for signing. Few of us stayed after everyone left to argued with Legendary staff. There were 15 of us, we demanded to meet them after being waiting for many hours. It was a really long day for every one of us in ADA line. Legendary Staff wouldn’t let us to anything like meet the cast, but we all ended up got autographs on crimson peak paper (without meeting them) and limited edition Crimson Peak poster. So disappointed at every staff. The line was so mess, they should put a tape on floor and have a poster of where line ends / start in a different location since there was another line for different booth that everyone got mashed up together. It needs to be visual communicates (Poster with information, color tapes; ADA line, while white tape; non-ADA line, etc) more than just rely on some staff that don’t even know what’s happening. None staffs are communicating with other each (Comic Con Staff, Security, and Legendary Staff).

    Sarah.

  • Ed

    i was in line on saturday at 2 am for Marvel’s agents of shield signing …. but i dont know how I never got into. In less than a minute the line was capped. i think that marvel have to change their policy to something like WB wristband policy…. i was very dissapointed because it was my first time and i really wanted the signings…. but i think that this is how is this…. its all about luck and for the next year i’ll be in line at 8pm… !

  • Mistykari C Wilson

    Charlie the Unicorn was one of girls who was in line night before at 8pm and she didn’t get in because of staff who completely ignored everyone at ADA line.
    I’m sure that ABC / Marvel staff managed line way better than Legendary staff does.

  • Ron

    I totally feel you on that though. At Emerald City this year they had a Chuck Palahniuk signing at the Dark Horse booth and they gave away the tickets for the signing at the booth during his Fight Club 2 panel, which was no where even close to the floor or booth. As soon as the panel ended I practically ran to the booth and saw they had handed out all the tickets. Oh well I figured and wasn’t too choked (even though I don’t understand the logic of doing both at the same time), until later that day when I saw that most of the people at the signing were just reselling the signed posters and mini-comics almost intermediately afterwards. I guess all the true fans were in the panel and the signing tickets went to exhibitors…

  • This isn’t the first tale of this sadly. The Funko booth had similar issues. Exhibitors on the floor were queuing up/hovering and then snapping into line the second the doors opened. It’s really sad and disheartening to see what has become of experiences like this.

  • Flinkman

    my #1 to do at SDCC was Friday Colony signing at the Legendary booth and I knew because it was ticketed that it should be my first stop of the day…I got in line the general line at 4AM and was one of the first 50 people on the show floor, and got to the booth QUICK. I was the first to get a ticket but they said even if you received one it wasn’t a guarantee…but to come back an hour before the signing, and there’d be a line. I, of course, came back by the booth as many times as possible prior to that and every employee you asked had a different answer as to when the line would form and where. So I just camped out 2 hours early…I’m amazed I didn’t get cleared out of the aisle by security once lol. At least three booth workers knew me and about four other girls had been there for hours and we were “the start of the Colony line” so FINALLY about 15 minutes prior to the signing, someone comes and gets us and we are told we are the start of the line…….and then somehow suddenly there was a great big line of people about 50 or so deep that was the start of the line and ahead of us. We were still close enough to get in and it all worked out but….it was a pretty frustrating experience. at some point I asked a booth worker if this was the same procedure they’d be using for the Tom Hiddleston/Crimson Peak signing the next day, and when she said yes I KNEW it would be a disaster lol.

  • Jason Scanlon

    “Way better”? If you have two piles of crap, is one truly “better” than the other? They both stink, and they both make a mess. Comic-Con isn’t what it used to be, and these booths need to keep up with the changing times.

  • Denise Miller

    Had a friend who camped out on the sidewalk for the Marvel signings. She was 3rd in line outside. By the time she got onto the floor Sat morning, the booth was swamped with exhibitors and she was completely shut out.

  • Aloki

    I was one of the first to the floor for the Outlander signing tickets and was told they were gone in 15-30 seconds. They had to have gone to mostly exhibitors. *sigh*
    The WB wristband line ran super smooth the day before besides some line cutters on the back steps.

  • egaal

    Interesting insight to a part of the con I’m not familiar with at all. For those like WB and Lego that do the random drawings, how do people feel about camping out all night for a random chance? Is that random chance pretty high so it’s still worth it? That’s the part I’ve never understood. Do they say what the odds are of drawing a signing ticket/wristband? Also, kind of sucks about the exhibitor stuff. In some ways I get, exhibitors might very well also be fans of certain types of movies, shows, and toys so if you completely shut them out, that’s not fair either. Most booth workers are not millionaires, but average joes who happen to work in the industry. Maybe they could make it fair so if you are an exhibitor getting in line, you have to also camp outside for the chance? (as in take a day off from working your booth and not be on the floor before anyone else, etc)

  • flashlightbuff

    I had the exact same problem. Exhibitors filled the line to capacity before doors were open for marvel booth autographs. I’ll never do another major autograph that isn’t random sails Pavillion drawing.

  • Mistykari C Wilson

    I assumed Marvel booth would handle line management a bit better than Legendary (assuming Marvel booth didn’t completely ignored and denies ADA line after being in line for hours. None of us in ADA line got in for signing booth). Apparently I was wronged about it. Only one booth I thought was good at handling at line management was WB booth, it ran smoothly every time I went there.

    How would you improve the situations? None of those staff were very effective. Seems no one communicate other each (between booth staff, comic con staff, and security) which is a big problem of comic con.

  • david

    I’d agree, Marvel is the worst booth to get anything done with. Its the same every year. I usually avoid it at all costs, especially their giveaways. Not just a time waster but a downer in general.

    Legendary also had minimal swag this year compared to previous so I’m glad I avoided that headache.

  • Angel of Death

    More than that, if they don’t do ticketed drawings in Sails at the beginning of the morning like WB, at least hold the ticket drawings at the booths mid-day so it gives EVERYONE an equal chance at drawing things–Exhibitors AND regular visitors. This “First thing in the morning at our booth” crap is what’s screwing regular fans over, and allowing non-fan poachers who don’t care about the casts and crew to take advantage of regular fans by selling their “rewards” to us on ebay for ridiculous prices!

    I hate poachers!

  • JaninthePan

    Yes, but did you get your Mission Day badge?
    Back on topic, all the big booth signings and exclusives really need to get their act together and start doing Sails Pavilion drawings. It’s not like any of them don’t really expect people to show up. If nothing else, the crazed rush for the booth and the incoherent line up policies only make the floor even crazier. Please, SDCC, make the studio booths do their drawings upstairs.

  • Investigatind Detective

    I had issues with WB’s Friday drawings. A ton of people seemed to get in through the back of the sails pavilion and after waiting in line for roughly 2 hours we got to the front of the line to find that more than half of WB’s signing had filled up an hour prior. It didn’t upset me that the drawings had filled up, I was upset that they allowed people to stand in line forever without sending someone outside to simply yell that “X and Y drawings” were full. That’s a large chunk of time to waste for no reason.

  • Maddie

    Lionsgate wasn’t too terrible at least… After I was shut out of Crimson Peak I was able to still get both Hunger Games signings. That really salvaged the day. In fact, Lionsgate was all-around really professional this year, imo.

  • garfeimao

    This story about Legendary matches perfectly with what Inkworks used to do, back when they existed and attended SDCC. Mixed signals beforehand, then their line fills up with vendor badges before fans even make it onto the floor, or they change their minds and start things at a time that does not match what is on their schedule simply because ‘there was a line, so we started ticket distribution early”.

    Most of what all these big booths have in common is that the bulk of there staff are not crowd management trained and they don’t have a strong leader or team of leaders to keep them consistent. I don’t mind missing out on an autograph as long as the rules are spelled out in advance, and they do what they said they would do at the time they said they would do it. It is the miscommunication, changing stories and inability or lack of interest in correcting a wrong.

    Regarding the Marvel booth, I’ve had quite a good experience with them, for the most part, the last 4 or 5 years, but then my sister is in a wheelchair, and they treat their ADA fans right. Their line up at the beginning could use tweaking, but what I bet most of you don’t know is that it is still a Random Draw, just at their booth. The reason they cap the line is that they only have so much room in the booth to do the drawing, so this is the one reason they should move the Draw upstairs to the Sails Pavillion and let more people participate. But if you are an ADA fan and willing to put in the time, they will take care of you, as long as you show up early and ask for direction. And by early, come the first day you arrive at the con, get their schedule, and ask about an ADA line for signings and what they will or will not do. It’s mostly wheelchairs and walkers they accommodate, but if you are a mobile ADA person, just ask, the day before the event, and see what happens. The guy who runs the booth tries to accommodate as many folks as he can, ADA and non-ADA alike, it’s just that initial ticket draw that needs a little work.

  • greatstone

    WOW! I am glad that this came up. We noticed last year that for some reason things were not going right. I have always been hesitant to bring this up, but since this showed up, I thought I should contribute something from first hand experience.

    Last year I sent my son and wife to Dark Horse to participate in the Sin City “bead” drawing. They were near the front of the line and actually got there quickly only to find out that the drawing was over and everything was already put away. Mind you this was a few minutes after 9:00am when the doors were open and the “cattle call” of people poured into the exhibitor’s hall. We were totally dumbfounded as to what happen. They were told that the drawing was over. We found out later in the day, while standing in line for another signing, that a gentleman we ended talking to said that he got the Sin City and we question how did he do it. He showed us his exhibitor’s badge, which by the way was turned around. We always kind of suspected this in the past but this to us confirmed that this is true.

    Last year, we also learned that there was a group of people we have known for years, work as a team. There are 8 of them. We noticed that by the time we got to the WB autograph line, two of them already had wrist bands for The Hobbit and Arrow and was going for another of WB drawing before we were able to participate for the first drawing. I asked one of them how were they able to do it. We’ve known each other for a long time so he did tell me. They had an exhibitor friend who gave them his badge and one other of their workers and two of them used it to get in long before anyone else because they let exhibitors in early to get ready for business. Once both of them were in, one would leave with both badges while the other stayed in the booth. The person with the two badges would give them to two others in their group and they would come in before the badges ended back to the exhibitor so that he can come in. Four of them were already in the hall and quickly moved up to the Sail Pavilion before the crowed was let in. WB started their lines first thing in the morning at 7:00am. However, this year they camped out and as a team rotating overnight, holding two separate spots within the first 100 people to enter the Exhibitors Hall. They did not have the same luck this year as last year. I wanted to ask why, but my friend was kept away from us, by other members of his group, not wanting him to talk to me. Hmmmm.

    This year, I just want to say that I was at the head of the line at Legendary’s Booth for the Colony, Warcraft (afternoon session), Krampus, and Electra Woman and Dyna Girl. Yes, like others already mentioned in this blog, we did not get Crimson Peak either. In reference to ADA, for the Colony signing, they did let all of the ADA go in first before the first person (me) in the regular line was allowed to go in. For the Warcraft, they alternated with ADA and regular line. Electra Woman was also alternated and Krampus I don’t remember.

    Bottom line, yes, the exhibitor’s do have an advantage and they exploit it just as my friends last year used them to their advantage. Unless there is a general policy that exhibitors are not allowed to participate in “fan” experiences, which in the past I thought that was Comic-Cons policy, this will continue and get worse as these signings are premium and exhibitors are there to make money.

    I have been going to this even for 24 years. It has changed drastically and has ended up being more stressful, probably coupled with the fact I am now a senior citizen and it is harder for me to “compete” with new kind of changes that have happen over the years. But what is important, like Evic stated, you do your homework but also have a plan A, B, C etc. . . . .

  • TK421

    There is a simple way to handle this. We all know we have a unique #ID for our badges. Weeks before Con starts, they should just put up an online ‘random drawing’ for every big ticket event and you click the ones you want to be registered for. The day before Con, the system goes through and picks the winners. If you’re selected for any, you just go to the booth, they scan your badge, says you won and you get a signing ticket, etc.

    No more stupid lines, no more stupid vendors getting first dibs, etc.

  • GooniesAndy

    This is exactly what I think. It would take away so much stress and so many crowds.

  • Kotohiki

    They can also do this to remove the Hall H lines as well.

  • Kevin W.

    I agree with the spirit of the suggestion but I am not a fan of online ticket draws. NYCC does it for autographs and I feel it is a total sham to increase web traffic. I have a better results at drawing at WB than I ever had with online.

    Also the process will have to account for no-shows so there will still have to be a stand by line.

  • Kevin W.

    I had a massive issue with the security in Sails that day. I was part of the first group allowed in and I would estimate I was 20th in line. When I got to the WB line it was 60 people deep. I took pictures on line before I was let in and also when I arrived to the WB line and it just does not add up. Some were ADA (no issue there) but they were a number of people who I know are autograph hunters who were ahead of me in line. I did not see these people on line at all during the night or on the escalator ride up so I brought my concerns to security. They claimed they had the area tightened up but saw my point once I showed them my pictures.

    My suggestion to security is to place some security people in the first group allowed in to act as escorts to the popular lines and check the people in the lines already to make sure they are ADA. If they are not ADA boot them from the center and let them go to the end of the line (first penalty). Second time caught they yank their badge for the con.

  • Kevin W.

    They used to do this 3 or 4 cons ago. The drawings were a few hours ahead of the signing it was much better to manage the day and not burn the entire night.

    I think the system should be tweaked to have floor lotteries to start no earlier than 10am or they hold it in Sails. That may give folks a shot and curb the exhibitors from taking unfair advantage of their access.

  • Kevin W.

    Same here for a friend of mine. She was very disappointed that day.

  • Kevin W.

    When I saw the tweet about the line I responded to share my disappointment in the way the line was handled and I hope there are some rules created as an outcome. Exhibitors should not be allowed to participate on drawings unless they commit their time on line like the rest of us plain and simple.

    My goal for the con are autographs and I do not sell them – they are for me. I get a little heated when people try to sell their wristband or autographs because in every instance it takes away an opportunity for a real fan to have the experience of meeting their favorite actor/actress/director/creator.

  • raybdc97

    This is a slap in the face to all those poor fans who waited in line for hours to get autographs. What about fans that traveled long distances to even be at SDCC to get this chance to meet their favorite stars…when you look into it this travestyof justice commited by Legendary ( and other exhibitors) goes much, much deeper.

    Exhibitors should be banned from all signings and exclusives period!!! And companies like Legendary, Funko, Marvel and Lego should want their swag to go to real fans, and band exhibitors from their lines.

    Exhibitors poaching exclusives is a simple fix!!! Check IDs!!! You are required by CCI to carry your ID and Comic Con badge at all times while in the convention. Other than the guards checking, Funko staff could check. It would take about 15 seconds per person. Furthermore, they would only need to do it in the morning for the first 30min or so to weed out all the Exhibitors. False badges should be treated rudely, badges confiscated (both attendee badge and exhibitor badge), exhibitors sanctioned and kicked out. It would remedy itself at that point. If you do this once, the exhibitor poaching rate would drop to ZERO in 1 day. When there’s no penalty for false IDs…people are gonna cheat the system, no matter what ingenious system you devise. This isn’t that hard a problem to fix.

    I’d question any company that doesn’t put their fans (instead of exhibitors) first, and then reassess my loyalty to that company.

  • zonkttc

    3rd is not the front of a line.